2013-12-30

2013 in review

Like game changing politics, balance of power and the theory of games, a year is a time in the life of a country, society or individual where things changes swiftly. 2013 'was' one such year where I faced flak, disappointment, defeat, unexpected twists, small victories, financial crunch and what's not. The year that soon going to be history was an eventful one where I had struggled to find a feet for my own self, stayed at home more-six months-than I worked. There were the ups and downs. Every dark cloud has its silver linings as I am focusing on the bad, good and degree of awesomeness. It's just that it was a year where things fell out of place, every initiative that I took fell flat on my face and failed miserably. But, the ups was that I made so many wonderful friends on the blogging space, connecting with so many on social networking platforms, reviewed a book for a friend, wrote column for a Yemen based newspaper on India's Republic Day, participated as a guest blogger, was introduced to the amazing writing platform called writetribe.com and, as the year is ending, I have written a piece on Nirbhaya for the women special issue for the Indian magazine in Dubai, The Indian Trumpet. So, I guess the year is ending on the right note. Nevertheless, I must admit that I was deprived of a hat trick in 2013 after two wonderful and super awesome years, 2011 and 2012. I was deprived of my holidays, was out of work and disappointment loomed large as I made a pale figure. 2013 was certainly not for me as I fell short of expectations. I shall focus on the high and lows of the year 2013. I so wanna the year to get over.


The Lows
1. Crashing of dream
It was the biggest blow I was dealt with as my boss informed on the phone that the company decided to close our newspaper. My world crashed and I felt that a dream spanning over almost three years came to an end. It was not just a job for me but a dream and unwavering faith in a good product as there was the feeling that we owned the product. It was our product and not just a job. Some dreams were not meant to be but there was a sense of satisfaction since the editorial team, journalists and our chief editor did a fab job. It's just that some people at the top didn't realize the management failure. I was shifted to another department but choose to live on basis of principles and the fact that I will not grow as a professional.

2. Financial woes
Job hai toh honey hai! It sounds true and one thing led to the other as the financial woes came back to haunt my very existence. I have a pending loan, Easy Money Installment on a super expensive handset and Ipad as well as a mounting credit card that I wasn't able to settle. I was hounded by the debtors with the constant nagging on phone and, at some point, mom stepped in to help me to a certain extent. Thankfully, I got a temporary job in October which I am doing to sort out the financial mess and some of the debts are still on my trail. But, I am on my way.

3. Fighting against the self
The six months I stayed at home was the most difficult and trying times of my life in 2013 where absolutely nothing was going right. I was fighting with myself where every endeavor met with failure. I felt that I was a failure and the world was no longer was my oyster. There have been instances in the past where I was out of job for a period of three months but I held my might where nothing affected me. But, not this time. I crumbled and my moral was sapped. I was no longer this strong guy who would surmount all possible obstacles that came on my way. I didn't know which door to knock and, if it hadn't been for my close friends, mom and online friends on blog and Facebook whom I never met, I would have suffered a break down. I love you my online friends.

The Highs
1. Interviews
As a journalist, I love doing interviews and the feature interviews of Asseem Chauhan vice chancellor of Amity University and Indie Pop Singer Shibani Kashyap ensured that I was on a roll. Certainly, both interviews ensured that I was on a roll and rocked like a King. I called myself, 'The King of Interviews' and my work made me proud of who I am. I worked hard for that.

2. Writing is thy world
Blogging has never been that fulfilling for me and Corinne Rodrigues 'Write Tribe' made sure that I got a platform as a writer where my skills and blog got so much praise. I also reached out to several blogs as part of the writing festivals and prompts which I enjoyed reading. I connected with so many bloggers acr0ss the world and learned so much. My blogs gained recognition and the shouts on my wordpress is testimony to that. It's such an 'ahaa' feeling.

3. Friends
Through the blog and Facebook, I made so many great and super awesome friends, so many of you whom I never met are on my FB and Google chat, we chat regularly and today, we are the best of friends. We not only connected with each other but strengthened our bond of friendships. Today, I vouch that I value my online friends more than the people I know personally and blood relations, for that matter. You guys are my support system and I am happy we met. You gals and guyz made the sweet moments in 2013 truly memorable.

4. Blog Awards
I got so many blog awards from you guys and Soumya nominated me first, Tazein gave me quite a bunch of awards, Megha joined the list and so many of you guys. I rocked on the blogging space and there are some awards that I am yet to accept. It's been great so far.

5. Recognition as a writer
As a writer and journalist, a friend and chief editor of Yemen Times, Fakhri Al Arashi whom I met in the IORARC now IORA conference in Gurgaon asked me to do a guest column for India's Republic Day. It set the pace for many more things as I did a review of the wonderful book of my very dear friend, Soumya Vilekar and Shaheen Dhanji 'Suroor of the Soul' which is an amazing book of poems. The review can be found here on http://suroorofthesoul.weebly.com/book-review.html. I also did a guest blog for http://thewhitescape.wordpress.com. Finally, my dear friend Garima Srivastav Nag who runs sweet sharing requested me to pen something on 'Is Bollywood Corrupting Young Minds?' and my take can be found here, http://www.sweetsharing.com/passing-buck-movies-answer.

6. Freelancing and blowing the trumpet louder and louder
Finally, I am a freelance for the Indian based magazine in Dubai, theindiantrumpet.com which is all about India. I am very proud to be part of the mag and proud to announce that my piece on the Nirbhaya rape case has gone live today. It's the best moment of the year on December 29 and not bad, na, to end the year on a high note, isn't it?! It is a matter of pride to be tooting happily and blowing the trumpet.
Life is made of ups and downs. If, on one hand, I suffered unexpected setback both professionally and personally, on the other hand, 2013 had much offer in terms of friendship and life as a blogger. Yeah, the blog now has a Facebook page. There has been plenty of awards, recognition and I can look forward to an exciting 2014 where I am looking to explore new horizons and discover my self as a person.
Wishing all of you a very belated Merry X-Mas and Happy New Year 2014. I wish to take our relations to a new high, cement our bond and plenty of happiness, health and wealth.
With Love
V

Homophobia, Human Rights and Indian Culture: Myth and Reality


Chapter XVI, Section 377 dating back to 1861 during the British Raj criminalizes sexual activities, men having sex with men, women having sex with women or both, "against the order of nature."


Indian Penal Code:
" Unnatural offences.-- Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of naturewith any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with 1[ imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.- Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section."--Chapter XVI,Indian Penal code, Section 377

 Constitution of India:
"No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedures established by law." The rights to life and personal liberty are inherent in human beings and the Constitution does not confer them on persons. Article 21, thus, seeks to protect these inherent rights by prohibiting the State or any person from depriving a person of the right to life or personal liberty except in accordance with a procedure established by law.--Article 21, Constitution of India



Let's move over the legal technicalities of both laws, Section 377 is an archaic and retrograde law dating to the Raj Era while Section 21 protects human rights in line with the Constitution of India. Sadly so, the Supreme Court Judgement on December 11 which is a retrograde in nature and archaic has upheld section 377 that makes love between gay couples illegal and, in the same vein, overturn the landmark judgement delivered by the Delhi High Court judgement of 2009 which legalized homosexual acts among consenting adults. Certainly, December 11 is a black day for human rights.

It is revolting that we are living in 2013 and a legal stamp has been splashed on a law dating back to 1861 that makes gay sex and love illegal. The December 11 judgement is ironic since, on one hand, we term gay sex as illegal and, on the other hand, our constitution guarantee the protection of personal freedom and ensures the right to life and personal liberty. Are the learned judges saying that article 21 is illegal? Or is that, the court and police will come and arrest people who make love within the confines of the house, albeit, bedroom? 
Let's take a common example. I am heterosexual and, if tomorrow, I decide to have a homosexual experience with a partner in a hotel room or within the confine of my bedroom, will the police come and arrest me? If yes, on what basis? For making love. Isn't it ridiculous?!
The judgement treats homosexuals as criminals and it means that two men or women having a physical and intimate relations will be arrested based on their sexual inclination. It seems that we are back to the stone age when two consenting adults making love to each other are labelled as criminals. I don't understand how same sex love can be brandished as illegal and criminal activities considering that they are not killing or raping anyone. Let's face it: The judgment emanates from homophobia sparking violence and hatred against people with different sexual orientation. What hurts the most is when someone raping a girl is let off on account that the person is a juvenile at the time, the crime was committed but we declare homosexuality or love making as a crime. Love is love and doesn't matter if it's heterosexual or homosexual love.

 The SC judgement has missed the cue. It's not about sex or thrilling experience among men and women just for the sake of it. Activists campaigning for the legalizing of homosexuality and, ultimately, same-sex marriage want a society free of discrimination and where human rights are respected. Some people are putting too much emphasis on the whole heterosexual and homosexual debate which is ridiculous, according to me. There are several instances where gay people are discriminated against and they are scorned upon in society in instances where they want to file a police complaint on account of harassment or violence against them. This is just one example but there are cases where their partner indulge in violence against them. I mean where do they go to ensure that their rights as human beings are respected with the archaic and retrograde Section 377? The victims become the perpetrators of a crime that was never committed in the first place existed. This is simply ridiculous.
As far as terming gay sex as unnatural, I just want to ask how does one defined natural sex? In that sense, even masturbation or kissing between a man and women should be considered to be a criminal act or an un-natural act.

The book of love or sexual guide, Kamasutra describes independent women who frequent their own kind or others as Svairini, the liberated women, who refuses a husband. In the same Kamasutra, Svarini is also described as a women with no sexual bars, makes love with her own kind and strokes her partner at the point of union which she kisses. ( Jayamangala on Kama Sutra 2.8.13). Therefore, the issue of unnatural sex doesn't arise at all and it is, in fact, a blurred definition of what constitutes natural sex.
The ninth chapter of Kamasutra alludes to Tritya-Prakriti (third sex)  who are emotionally attached to another and who eventually marry as well as men with masculine and feminine leaning who love each other. Such relationships between men and women involves love and trust. Therefore, the argument that homosexuality is unnatural and it is a West import doesn't holds ground at all and is a ridiculous argument to contend with. It is a fact that sex as an emotion and unifying factor to express love has always been part of the Indian culture as early as the fourth century and those belonging the homophobia should visit the Khajuraho temple which will remind them that they are living in constant denial. In short, homosexuality is described as an art form of love making and there is nothing that says it is alien to Indian culture and it has always been ingrained in India since times immemorial. Moreover, Rig Veda which exist since 1500 depicts sexual acts between women as revelations of feminine world where sexuality was based on pleasure and fertility.
As a heterosexual, I respect the rights of homosexuals to love and live their life on their own terms. Our scripts and sculptures have always recognized the rights of same-sex people to indulge in sexual pleasures based on trust and love. Homosexuals doesn't bite and it is a big human tragedy to prevent people from loving each other and treat them as criminals in society. It is not just about sex or erotic pleasure for that matter, but a recognition of the rights of LGBT as human beings who have the right to love and life in society as human beings alongside any other ordinary morals. The logic is simple: If we are perpetuating discrimination against homosexuals, it is the same as discriminating against a person on account of ethnicity, race or sex.


India is considered to be the biggest democracy in the world and the Government and opposition should cast aside their political differences to come out with a legislation that will repeal section 377 that discriminates against human beings on account of their sexual orientation. One cannot accept an outdated and archaic law that spark hatred against human beings. We are living in 2013 and we will soon usher in a brand new year where we must celebrate human beings as unique individuals and not necessarily as men, women, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, husband or wives. It is the biggest tragedy on earth to devoid someone of their rights as human beings.

Make Love Not War
Vishal




2013-12-26

Celebrating 3+ Years on Blogspot

Who has the nerve to forget birthday celebration on the blogosphere? Well! I did and the birthday came and busted like balloons out of thin air as the memory suffered a momentary collapse. The blog was born on November 22, 2010 and it's been three wonderful and memorable years since new kid on the block was born. As they say, better late than never! So, please join me as we raise the toast with the glass of wine to celebrate vishal-newkidontheblock.blogspot.com that turns three this year.

At that time, I was blogging on wordpress.com and looking at the awe-inspiring, super cool and sexy blogs on blogspot, I was toying with the idea of starting something youth and jazzy for the young gen. I wanted the blog to connect with gen X and speak our language, the language of the youth. It took me one whole year since I wanted to zero on a name that would struck a chord, a kinda youth anthem. On November 22, new kid on the block was born and, today, it's post number 303 that find its way on the special birthday.
Short stories, poems, venting out, ranting and what's not found its way on the block. We all learn as we blog and there were innumerable mistakes since I am a lazy bum and didn't bother to check typos, spells and grammatical mistakes. I wrote about movies, heroines, feature blogging, memoir in Mumbai and writing challenges. It's been a beautiful journey where I met so many beautiful blogger who write awesome stuffs and connected at a soulful level with so many of us. Today, I follow so many on blog spot and have quite a few followers, made great friends with fellas I have never met and with whom I share so much about life. It's all about dreams, fulfilling of inspirations, sharing stuffs and cute things. This is one blog where I can be myself without being judged by anybody and I not only appreciate but love the feedback received. Folks! It can only motivate me to write better and churn out original stuffs. What I love on blogspot are the various images and animations that one can create to make it super cool and colorful.

It doesn't go without saying that SEPO has been a motivation and an inspiration so that I don't shut the blog since at one time, I was toying with the idea. Here is one chick who got the patience and love to write beautiful stuffs..here is the result, the blog has been there for three years where I learned so much from my beautiful friend with a heart of gold, SEPO. Shez been a very loyal follower of this blog and, thank you, SEPO.
In the process, I met so many awesome bloggers and some of you, decided to shut your blogs. Dunno why! I so want you guys and gals to be back on the space where we express ourselves freely and learn from each other. I wouldn't say, Such A Long Journey but it's been an adventurous one. 
I love writing the column stuff where I express myself on issues such as Indian Politics, corruption as well as burning topics such as sexuality, status of women in society. However, let me tell you that new kid is not departing from its sole intent, its reason for being, i.e, writing about the youth and the stuffs they face, identity crisis, relationships, love, eroticism, sex and what matters.
Thanks a ton, fellas, for believing in new kid on the block and making it sustain for 3+ years. Looking forward for blissful years ahead and together we rock.
Lotsa Love
V

2013-12-23

X-Mas wish list, oh! Santa Claus

Hey Santa Claus,
I've been a superbly cute and good boy this year..I mean, you know-it-all, right?! But, just feeling like telling you and reminding you in case you feign ignorance..I know, I know, you have showered me with love and unexpected surprises during the past two years, but, this year. you seemed to tell that I can'g get everything perfect and right. Well, it's just that I've been denied a hat-trick and was denied a sixer a la Sachin..I know! I know! You've bestowed upon me gifts, unexpected twists in the tale and surprised gifts. It's just that I fell short of expectations that came crashing on the floor but, Santa dear, you've also showered me with some love and blessing.
Okie! I just cut the crap of whining of what's not and come soon coz I wanna you to surprise me with lovely gifts and an amazing life full of happiness,love and, of course, the moolah. Here'z my X-mas list this season and be good, grand old' opps sorry! young at heart Santa Claus.


X-Mas List
1. Settle my credit card
Paisa hai to honey hai!! Santa Claus. you know it..ahem! ahem! I hate to admit it that I have a huge balance running for a year on the credit card and, this season, show me some love and settle the pending queue on the card. Okie! I gonna close ma eyes till 25 December till you sort out ma card.

2. Pending Loan
Dear dear, Santa Claus! I gonna polish my shoes, keep my room neat and clean, make my bed every day..promise promise promise..pakka nakki...kuchi pakki..i wanna be a good boy and rocking..bring some miracle coz I wanna finish off my loan in 2014. It is a big burden on my small head and Santa sow the seed for a money tree which I can pick up like mango and give back to the bank.

3. Holiday
Moolah..moolah..moolah..i wanna rake the moolah so that I can afford a yearly holiday, sipping beer in Goa..see, I was deprived of ma holiday and I'm dying of envy this year coz during the past two years, I enjoyed holiday. Bring some stars when you come and create some magic so that in 2014, I gonna rock and afford my holiday in India.

4. Relocating in the desert
I am dying to relocate in the desert of Dubai for work and for better opportunities in Dubai. Grant my wish Santa Claus..okie, I know you are Santa Claus and not the genie but dying to be in the Sheikh Land and lazing in the Arab desert..this is what I am dying for. So, grant me my Dubai wish in 2014.

5. New Job
I am looking forward to an awesome 2014 with a better job, better pay and fantabulous perk..surprise me Santa Claus and you gotta open the Pandora box for me..I can't wait to have the super awesome job...coz I don't wanna stuck in a rut..see it's not too much too ask and I'm sure u gotta help me bounce back.

6. Novel, my novel
Santa! Oh! Santa Claus! I know I gotta pull my sock since I am a lazy bum..bring motivation and inspiration in huge package so that I push myself to write my rom-com novel. I can't wait to see my name on the shelf of Indian authors at Landmarks and Crossword..why do I keep postponing my book project?! ahem! ahem!
Spread the cheers and make the world a better place for us, humans, to live in peace and happiness. See! Santa Claus! I am not just asking for myself but the whole world. It is not too much to ask for. Come fast, Santa and can't wait for you to make my life bigger and more beautiful.

Merry X-mas
Vishal


2013-12-01

Alchemy of 'sexual desires', sex fest, laceration for Tejpal aka Tehelka lies

Feeling impelled to atone..lacerate me..sexual liaison on two occasions..political conspiracy and consensual sex sums up the Alchemy of Desire...It's like the new smart phone with touch point as the man has been finally arrested in Goa. Speak about Think Fest and what a fest it's been with Tarun Tejpal's usage of various adjectives, each in conflict with each other.
Tejpal's somersault will go in the book of history as an entire bundle of contradiction and his own legal definition of okie..lemme take a six months break for attempt to rape a young woman of the age of my daughter. Guess, the makers of jail break will get a complex now and the man who spent the whole day at the police station in a bid to avoid arrest make matter laughable. Oh! Finally! That's been a proper reaction as Tejpal's drama is brought to an end. Retributive justice to the victim? Not really!
The poor girl must be prepared to a slew of personal attacks, casting aspersions on her character what with chilling to the beach and partying. Courtesy, Tejpal's lawyer. It's another matter that they have been rebuked in the court of law for the sex banter, read, consensual. Oh! Really! Mr Tejpal! You will go to any extent in maligning the girl's character by putting a charade and indulging in self-victimization. Looks like you are on your way to become another Asaram Bapu in your quest for alchemy of spiritual 'sexual' desires.
Tarun Tejpal has so far failed to zip his pants as his two piece keep falling down his toes at the sight of a very young girl. Do you drink Black Dog? Reminds me of the character of Amrish Puri in the Amitabh Bachchan's super successful Shahenshah, "The dog in me comes alive when I see a hot girl and I always order for Black Dog whisky."
Tejpal is not alone in his wrong doing and what with changing his statements like Chameleon after the famous six months atonement, sex banter and vile conspiracy theories. Madame Meenakshi Lekhi of the BJP just found that her handset was hacked after tweeting the victim's name. Wow! Miss Lekhi! You suck as the politician and it's not even white lie. You just woke up to realize some toddler fidgeting with your phone and not you..living to the adage, Not me it's You who said that. It's ridiculous to see how the politicians have made the whole Tehelka saga as a slug fest, battling out on who is pro Congress or Anti-BJP. What does the poor girl gets in return? She simply becomes a punch bag for the likes of Tejpal and the political class, not to mention the character assassination she is facing now, with the defense lawyers make her sound like the perpetrator rather than the victim. It will come as no surprise if tomorrow the ruthless lawyers will come up with the ridiculous, Tarun Tejpal was molested at the Think Fest in Goa.
Shoma, our dear columnist, with whom I have fallen out of love-pun intended, remember I had immense respect for her-cannot be seen anywhere. What the hell with her telling the victim to delete the word 'sexual molestation' in the e-mail to telling journalists, 'You are more aggrieved than the girl' and you know what? Last heard, she threatened the cops with dire consequences by taking names of power toni in the political class? Wow! Shoma, now that you resigned as the managing editor of Tehelka, you may well make it in the soap operas and howz bout becoming a second Tulsi Virani? I am amazed Dear Shoma for being so vocal about rape, sexual molestation, corruption and what's not?! Anyways, wishing you a peaceful break.
A tale of everything goes wrong with a brand that was a reference for honest but courageous  journalists and how the name TEHELKA is crumbling. As they say, the rest is history! But, the fight against sexual molestation, violation of privacy continues against the ones who, in the recent past, cried hoarse over crime against women. Long Live double standards and blatant hypocrisy. Next time, you commit a crime, remember you can atone by going on six months break..remember, it's the Alchemy of Desire.

2013-11-18

Tribute to Master Blazer and Bharat Ratna, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar


A lil but shy teenager walked in the stadium with his bat and smashed the ball twenty four years back;
The hordes of Cricket fans gasped for breath as they saw the young man smashing the ball and driving seasoned opponents to the wall;
He was a young prodigy that must be groomed, cricket experts and seasoned players thought;
Little did they name that the young man would unite the country and strike an emotional chord with the nation;
He broke records after records, scored innings after innings, smashed centuries, tons and sixes;
Yet, he was human and failed at times;
After the high came the low notes and lull in his career,
he was not spared by critics yet he choose not to smash their heads;
He sets his sight on his game and, after all, this is what winners do;
His name is Sachin Tendulkar that resonates in all ears across the country and he is the son, brother, father of India;
He didn't let critics bug him and, in no time, he was back with a bang.
You hurled stones at him and he turned them into milestones;
He is the dream of a nation and every child, in the galli wants to grow up and became Sachin Tendulkar;
Centuries followed, milestones, innings and runs escalated like balls of snow;
He remained true to his 'self' and despite the milestones as well as achievements that only God could do, Sachin remained true to his roots and never forgot family background;
If cricket is religion, they say he is God:
Yet, the famous 100 100 tons eluded him much to the fans' chagrin and despair;
We batted for the World Cup where our God of Cricket will smash the 100 100 tons;
Yet, it was not meant to be but he won the world cup for us,
his team mates carried him  like he carried Indian Cricket on his shoulder for more than two decades;
Finally, he smashed 100 100 tons and centuries to prove he is beyond centuries;
Then, one day everything had to come to an end and we were shocked to hear that the Master Blaster and Grand Lil' Man will wave his favorite sports good bye;
We shed tears, after all how would we cope without Sachin, our hero and inspiration;
On his last day, he gratified our hearts with smashing innings and gracefully exited his home turf, Wankhede Stadium;
We thought that it was the end of Sachin route but we were wrong;
The hero reserved the last inning after the last match,
he spoke his heart and smashed another milestone straight in our hearts;
We shed tears as we watched him speaking from his heart when he shared the role that his eminent parents, mentor, wife and fans played in his life;
This is the true measure of the man who inspired us on the need to keep pushing ourselves towards the cliff and success will belong to us;
On the last inning, he united the whole nation as we batted for him and showered love, affection for what he has given us;
He is the last hero of our times as he brought a nation together, young and old, regardless of caste, creed or sex;
This is the power of the man, a phenomenon that cannot be expressed in words but felt within;
Cricket will never be the same without the God of Cricket and inspiration to millions across the globe;
Hey, take his name with respect, it's Bharat Ratna Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
God never retires and his name will always resonate in stadiums and for the love of the game.

This poem is dedicated to one man I have admired and loved, Bharat Ratna Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. I admit that I followed cricket very late in life and was introduced to Sachin after 25 years but what struck me was his humility, modesty and how he brought a nation together despite the fact that he achieved so much in life. The true measure and success of a person is not laurels but the positive attitude and humility. I admire Mr Tendulkar a lot for someone who was determined to succeed in life and never lose focus in life during the rough times.
Thanks Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. You shall be missed always on the cricket ground but will be loved forever.
Vishal


2013-11-17

WoW: The Shiva Tattoo


He wanted to ink this beautiful Shiva Tattoo on his neck but he was struggling to make both ends meet in Mumbai. After all, he promised never to go back home no matter what comes and he will make it in the city of dreams. After all, he was a struggling actor and his college pal has offered him a roof under the head. The whole world is going gaga over Lord Shiva and, after all, actor Sanjay Dutt and Amish's Trilogy, Immortals of Meluha, Secret of Nagas and Oath of Vyaputras made Shiva sexy.
One morning, he walked all the way to Colaba Causeway and past through the crowded corridor frequented by hordes of Mumbai where they are heavily bargaining for discounts on fake Gucci, Levis Jeans, Rolex watches and Von Dutch. He stopped near a pan shop and asked for a classic mild cigarette. As he lit the fag, he was struck by the sight of tiny bearded man sitting on the pavement. He couldn't stop himself and walked up to the guy, "Bhaiya, how much do you charge for a tattoo?" The tiny fellow face lit and sprang on his feet, "Sit down, bhaiya. I will make a beautiful tattoo that will win you hearts and your girl friend will never leave you."
He smiled sheepishly, "Do you make Shiva Tattoo?"
The tiny man straightened his body confidently and said, "What are you talking, Saheb? So many young boys and girls come to me and I make such beautiful tattoo for them at a good and affordable price."
"How much do you charge for one tattoo?"
"Only 300 rupees, Sirjee."
He haggled with the tattoo guy, 'No! No! It's too expensive and cannot afford that much."
The tattoo guy smiled, "C'mon! Sir! If you cross the road, you will find a tattoo shop and you will not be charged lesser than 2,000. Sir! Yeh Mumbai hai. Everything comes at a price."
He still wasn't sure whether he can trust this guy and who knows, whether he properly scrub and clean the area where the tattoo will be applied.  He walked away from the tiny fellow vying for customers but the guy would not let him go away from him. 
The tattoo guy chased him with the idea to clinch a deal, "Sir, 250 okiee 220.."
He ignored the tattoo guy but the guy kept stalking him for almost an hour and finally grabbed his hand. 'Sir, it's morning and make a good day for both of us and tell me your price.
He stopped and said: "Listen! I am dying to have Lord Shiva tattoo but I have only 150 bucks."
The tiny man smiled at him: "Sir! I take between 250 to 300 but you've taken Lord Shiva name, for you it's only 150." 
The tattoo guy led him in the by-lane as he signaled him to climb the wooden stairs. He removed his t-shirt and the tiny man cleaned his neck and in less than 30 minutes, the tattoo was done. The tattoo guy showed him a mirror and on seeing the tattoo, he jumped with joy, "Wow! Bhaiya! This is awesome and can you click the tattoo picture with my cell phone." He thanked the tattoo guy and walked way. It was a happy day for him and couldn't wait to show the tattoo to his flat mate and  best friend, Rohan, and girl-friend, Neha.
The tattoo guy put the 150 notes in the pocket of the dusty blue jeans and walked the streets on Colaba hunting for college kids dying for a tattoo. All of a sudden, a blast was heard. People were running and shouting frantically, "Help! help! Let's run away. It's is a terrorist attack."
A group of people run towards the tattoo guy, "Can you come along with us. A taxi has exploded near Gateway of India and a young man is stuck inside. Please help us," they pleaded.
The tattoo guy left his bag and materials on the street and run towards Gateway, along with the guys, and saw the taxi in flames. It took them half an hour to open the door of the cab to remove the young man's body that was soaked in blood. Suddenly, he saw a tattoo on the neck of the man fighting for his life. He had seen that tattoo before! If only he could remember where....

This post is part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by Blog Adda.


2013-11-16

Tagging on a Saturday

Borrowing a cue from one of ma favorite blogger, sweetest and beautiful friend, Sneha's post (check the link http://snehabhatsepo.blogspot.com/2013/10/guest-post-tag.html), I am tagging myself to play this fun game we all love doing as kids. Uff! Finally! I did it and tried to be funny.

Rules:
1. You 'may' not remove any questions
2. If you don't wish to answer a question, you may leave it blank
3. No detailed description, for details people can connect seperately
4. Once you are done, you have to tag 5 people from the list of your followers
5. Live a message to the people to say they are tagged

I tried to be as honest and witty so that ma lovelies get a glimpse of me. Any wit end on ma part that fall flat on your face is disclaimer that I am in no way responsible for your irritating mood or the day gone wrong. Enjoy


Vital Stats
Me: Simply Vishal
Nicknames: Bachchan (Given by my closet college pals for my admiration for AB), Pappu
Do you have a middle name?
Hate the middle name..How I wish I could live without it, Brahmindrasingh
Birthday: June 24
Zodiac sign: Cancer
Male or female: Male
Occupation: Journalist
Residence: Mumbai/Mauritius/Pune. In short, global address
Screen Name: New Kid on the Block

Appearance:
Hair color: Black with brownish streak
Hair length: Long but unkempt
Eye color: Black
Best Feature: Eyes
Height: 6 ft something
Braces?: No
Glasses?: Yes..specky
Piercing: Nopes
Tatoos: Nopes but dying to..c’mon baby, show me what you got?!
Righty or Lefty: Righty

Your Firsts’:
First Best Friend: Adi
First Award: Never got one
First sports you’ve joined: Football
First real vacation: Goa
First concert: Amitabh Bachchan concert (as a kid)
First love: aye shapat..aha down memory lane..well too many coz I have a track record of falling in and out of love. I am an emotional sucker:)

Favorites:
Movie: Sholay
TV show: Kaun Banega Crorepathi/Comedy Nights with Kapil
Color: White
Song: Too many
Subject at school: English
Candy: Mint Chocolates
Restaurant: Savera in Pune
Drink: Coffee
Store: Levi’s
Animal: Horse
Book: Too many, long list..Harry Potter, Midnight’s Children, Shantaram and many more
Magazine: Filmfare, India Today and yeah, Cosmopolitan
Shoes: Woodlands

Currently:
Feeling: Sleepy head at work
Eating: Nothing
Typing: What else do you think I'm doing? Tagging myself by moving my fingers in the air!
Online: Yeah. What do you think I am doing? Flirting with the bachelorette….
 Listening to: 90s pop songs, title song Dil Ka Kya Kasoor
Thinking About: college days, first crush, silly dating-fling kinda, the ex
Wanting: running back to Mumbai
Watching: lap-top screen
Wearing: Banyan on shorts
Want Children: Dunno
What would you name your children? Pappu aur Feku..sounds  good, na?
Want to be married:  No
Careers in Mind: author of rom-com books/ actor and director

Where do you want to live?
Do you speak any other languages? Hindi, English, broken Marathi and French
Have you ever?
Kissed a stranger: Nopes
Had alcohol: On and off
Smoked: Chain smoker
Ran away from home: Na! How would I survive without home-made food
Broken a bone: Nopes
Got an x-ray: Nah
Broken someone’s heart: Not ruthless
Cried when someone died: Yes
Cried at school: yes
Been out of country: Yeah. I’m out of ‘desh’
Bought Something You’ve never worn: I always do that and give it away

Do You Believe In?
God: I am an agnostic!
Miracles: Yeah..chamatkar aur umeed se jeethi hai duniya
Love at first sight: How I wish! I am an eternal romantic
Ghosts: Yeah..I am fascinated with ghosts and wanna meet one
Aliens: Dunno but should be fun and exciting
Soulmates: Yes
Heaven: No
Hell: No
Kissing on first date: No coz it's a matter of luck

Finally:
What kind of style would you define yourself as having?
I love experimenting but at the same time love retaining old world charm. It’s a blend between the classic, jazzy and experimenting. Love the style I’m comfy with
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
There are certain things that I keep to myself and believe that spelling everything out is not the real ME
One thing in your closet you can’t live without: I swear by my Levis Jeans and white shirts
Guilty pleasures: Chocolates, sweets and my whisky

I am not tagging anybody but feel free to copy or paste. I wrote the whole thing since lovely Sneha made me do the hard work as one cannot copy-paste from Rendez Vous.

2013-11-10

Echo from the heart

Soothing music echoes in the deserted room,
as the cat looks around searching for the master;
The white feline runs around to search for the gentle voice, whispering' Meow'.
She dashed out of the room as the male voice gradually wanes out;
The cat jumps on the ruins of the historical building outside the deserted room;
She sports a look of despair to express, "Where have you gone, Master?"
The feline frantically search for the familiar voice singing,
but, it seems that the song is echoed only in the room;
She is confused and couldn't understand what is wrong with her ears;
Perhaps, it is an illusion or an inner call to the seeker;
If only she could speak few words, she would have called for him,
tears rolled down her cheeks;
Yet, the song was soothing and it touched her heart;
Deep inside, she knows that the song of life was reaching out to her heart beats;
She takes a nap on the floor as the song keep humming in her ears;
She turns around but couldn't see anybody;
She closed her eyes and dozed off;
The voice echoes in the room as a shadow looms around;
Yet, she was in a deep slumber and couldn't see him.

With Love
V

2013-11-03

Diwali Abhinandan



Diwali, the festival of lights where thousands Diyas are lit across India and countries where thousands of Indians have settled, their culture with them. The day we all wait where we look forward to gorge on sweets, light diyas and wear new traditional and ethnic clothes. In India, streets are beautifully lit up, children bursting crackers, sharing of Mithais and performing the Lakshmi Puja. In the evening, families will light diyas in the house as we wish for loads of happiness, fulfilling our dreams, lunch with family and friends as well as shops displaying heavy discounts. Diwali Dhamaka is all over the place as we buy new Kurtas, colorful diyas as hordes of people are seen longing at Marine Drive in Mumbai and the shops are crowded with people during the festive season at Laxmi Road in Pune.
I have never witnessed Diwali in Delhi where it is celebrated in a unique and colorful way with celebration going full swing in a charming way. I so hope to be in the North some day to experience the frenzy of Diwali celebration, the celebration of life, love, friendship and joy. That's the beauty of India where people of different faiths come together together the celebrate the rainbow nation that we are. Diwali is a national festival like Eid and Christmas, rightly so. 
I am missing the Diwali celebration in India since I am out of 'desh' and there is no better 'Diwali' like we do in India. I so miss the beautiful lightnings and fireworks displayed at Marine Drive at night where the Queen's necklace is adorned by varying colors of beautiful lights and the awesome celebrations in Pune, in the Peth areas, Mahatma Gandhi Road and Junglee Maharaj Road where a huge crowd swerve for shopping and dining at night in restaurants.
Happy Diwali and may the guiding light always shower in your life and add sparkle to your existence.
Enjoy the pictures.



With Love
Vishal

55 on Friday: Falling in love over last copy


I am participating in Writetribe.com 55 on Friday, a prompt provided by Vidya.(http://mi.vidyasury.com). Check out the lovely capture, bearing the footprint of Vidya, that set the pace for the superb 55er. Hope you enjoy my take.
Vishal
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FALLING IN LOVE OVER LAST COPY



The crowd flocked to the bookshop to grab the last copy of Harry Potter;
I waited for hours and finally it was my turn;
It was the last copy and behind me was the beautiful but dejected girl :
I handed her my copy;
She smiled and we fell in love over books and Harry Potter.

2013-11-02

Soothing whispers and the gentle breeze

Soothing whispers into each others’ ear, the bell of the heart tickled;
The cappuccino coffee thickly brews its way into the heart;
The heart melt as the two birdies kiss softly, strutting each other’s lips;
Sitting in the silence of the night, they chirped to each and laugh;
It’s a moment to be cherished over intimacy and coffee;
Their passionate love-making act shall never be witnessed by anyone, except demons of the night;
If the room could speak a thousand words, the birdies would be slanted by guardians of morality;
All they care for are each other’s desire, state of being as they lie naked on the bed,
The breeze brush their bodies gently as they caress each other gently.

2013-10-27

Mumbai Musing 4 and final part: Life In a Hostel

The room on the ninth floor was a gate way for heavy partying and music were often played blaring loud among the residents. Every now and then, some parties were happening in some of the rooms of residents and after a moment of hesitation, I bonded well with the guys. I was well- settled in the single room on the ninth floor where I would often sneak in my favorite whisky, Imperial Blue or Smirnoff flavored Vodka in the room. The booze session was spent listening to radio mirchi, munching chikki and, waving to girls in the neighboring hostel. It was good fun.
I wasn't spared from the mischief as some of the hostel mates  would often lock my door from outside and had to yell, urging the neighbors to unlock the door for me. I mean, it was crazy and often, I would get angry at such kinda but, with the passage of time, I laugh when I think of the harmless fun. And, to think, I fumed out of the room, screaming, bc, mc and c*****.
If the room could speak, it could tell tales of silly antics, dancing in the room as I fell in love with S and my disappointment, crying session nursing my heart break. How I performed jigs in the room, how S was calling me during the night, our lovey-dovey sms session and late phone calls. It is in the room that I grew restless when S silence was killing me post our break-ups and me shouting on the phone. S was my life at that point of time in life and my growing frustration when things didn't work out between us. I hardly studied in the room as Rajabhai Tower in Fort was the hang out spot where we dated and studied in the old, gothic and colonial building with the chairs, tables and fan dating from the British Raj. On the eve of exams, me, Dhruv and Partha studied on the first floor where the warden resides and there were tables and chairs that were a facility provided to studious hostellites. The warden's floor has a huge space and where we spent the whole night studying for exams and, no doubt, girls from the opposite hostel, Telang was a big distraction. Since the floor faced the chicks room, they were calling us and hiding, what we could listen were giggle as they played hide-and-seek games with us. We also spotted some girls, switching the light in their room on and off, and some even walked naked in the room, pulling a towel on their body, shouting like mad dogs in a cage to seek attention. We could hear whispers, "Look, look, they are watching now," and they giggled.
It was on this floor that we were having daaru and cigarettes as a study break, as warden and his wife were sleeping. On the eve of the exams, we stayed awake throughout the night and we would only catch some sleep in the morning at 8.
It was the time to leave the hostel after completing my two years as a student in the hostel. I knew that I was going to miss ISH, good friends made, the canteen guys, security wale mama and also, Pintoo the guy from UP who runs a telephone booth and who boast a lot. It was quite an education staying at ISH where I've met various characters, ranging from funny to serious kind and really chilled out dudes. It was the time to call the cabbie and carry my stuffs inside as I waved ta-ta and good bye to Mumbai, promising to be back with a bang. I still miss hostel life in ISH and Mumbai, where I spent one of the best days of life. How lucky to stay in Churchgate and pay rent of 20,000 per year while rent of a flat ranges between 30,000 to one lakh. The perks of staying in a university hostel. I still miss the place.
Love
Vishal

2013-10-26

Mumbai Musing-3: Life in a hostel

November 2006:
Finally, I shifted to the hostel I've been dreaming of staying, International Students House (ISH) on C-Road from J S Hall, located on B-Road, which means I made three to four  trips to drag my luggage on the streets of Mumbai. It didn't make sense to hire a cab since it's a distance between two roads close to each other and I dragged my stuffs, mattresses, pillow, two huge luggage and various other items stuffed in the suitcases. All said and done, I received a warm welcome in the toilet. Bang on!
'Make sure you flush your shit down the drain, Mind that poor child who has to face your explosion," Okie, okie, I apologize for the writing on the wall, I mean toilet wall, but that's how I was greeted in the toilet on my floor. It's sensible on our part to move away from my welcome in ISH's toilet, isn't it?! I spent the whole day in the room, feeling so happy that, finally, I got a single room. The day was spent cleaning the room and re-arranging my stuffs and the remaining hours was spent the day peering at my neighbors, lesser mortals like me of the feminine species in their shelter, Telang Hostel. The fan was on. After all, in a city like Mumbai, one cannot switch the fan off due to the heat caused by humidity. I decided that the light will not be switched off tonight after bearing the torture of lights off for more than three months. I feel like dancing in the room.
The picture has been taken from the ISH facebook page/https://www.facebook.com/ISHmumbai?ref=br_tf

Eight months elapsed at ISH leading to the first year M A exams where I made my first friends Nitin, Subhodeep, Mahesh, Karan, Rizwan and also, Ali, a super cool dude from Delhi who is always seen in shorts. Often, we would have a glass of tea and smoking in the hostel canteen which was not allowed by rules but we ended breaking up the rules like so many students did. I guess the warden knew about it but pretended to turn a deaf ear to our sinful but fun activities. We often spoke about chicks staying in the neighboring hostel and who were often spotted in our canteen. Yes! Our canteen was frequented by our cute and hot neighbors dropping for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lil' did I know that Ali would one day become an actor or for that matter a star and he did a cameo in Three Idiots and was one of the main heroes in SRK's Always Kabhie Kabhie and Farhan Akhtar's Fukrey. One can imagine the sheer delight when I moved out of India and the hostel to see a dear friend of mine on the silver screen and I was like, it's so fucking awesome. We should always live up to our dreams in life and I am sure Ali, my hostel mate, will become a big star one day.
Hostel life means stupid and silly bickering with friends and inmates which is a very normal part of hostel life. I had my share of fights with some neighbors who were friends and became foes at a later time due to misunderstanding and, also our, plain stupidity. It could have turned into an ugly spat but, then, hostel life is very boring without petty squabbles between students. ISH was the place where the cops would often visit at night since neighbors in the posh locality would complain about some students yelling at night and shouting, bhenchod, maderchod. When I joined hostel in 2006, I also witnessed the frenzy of cricket craze since the famous Wankhede stadium was within walking distance of the hostel on D-Road as one could see TV crew stationed on Marine Drive, film stars traipsing at Inter Continental Hotel and on 12th  floor of hostel, we would get a partial view of the iconic Wankhede stadium, known as Sachin's turf.
I remember, Harry whom we would affectionately call Harria, the tiny and skiny fellow who would roam C-Road to sell us, hostellites, cigarettes that he would keep in a carry bag. Harry would reach the hostel gate in  the morning at nine and stay till noon. He would be back at nine p.m and would stay till midnight. Cops normally patrolled the hostel area in the evening and since selling cigarettes and paan is strictly not allowed within parameters of educational institutions and hostel, he would play cat-and-mouse game with the cops. We were very cautious when buying cigarettes since Harry was dispensing a service to hostellites who had to walk all the way towards Ambassador hotel or Jazz by the way, sea face on Marine Drive and Churchgate Station to buy their provisions. Thus, Harry took an extra buck providing fags and a classic mild was sold for six rupees rather than the normal 4 rupees. That was way back in 2006.
The mornings and evenings were spent on Marine Drive where I became friends with two twin sisters and street urchins who were begging on the streets. My heart sunk for those lil' and cute six year olds who look battered in the face of an unfair life and ruthless world as they tendered their tiny hands to the people sitting on the parapet and asking for money. I always looked for my lil friends and would give them a rupee or two or got them some bun and bananas to eat. How life can be cruel at times where innocent kids are robbed of their childhood? They would just crash on the parapet because they were so tired in the scorching sun after begging throughout some. One evening, their so-called guardian started beating them mercilessly because for falling asleep and some of us, intervened. I just pray that they find happiness in life and may the shining light always guide my two lil' friends.
The sleepless nights were spent in the rooms of friends who narrated some interesting but thrilling stories about ghosts that took place in the hill stations in India. Our friend, Subho, narrated some very interesting stories about ghosts that took place in a hostel in Shimla and we sat through till the wee hours in the morning.
There were also some rumors doing the rounds in our super luxurious hostel that one of the floor was haunted by a female ghost who was killed by some African students. In the start, I laughed it off but it actually turned out to be true where some Afra students high on Cocaine invited the local girl, who was their friend, inside the room and the bastards raped her. They flung her body on the first floor where the warden stays. The room where the incident happened remained closed till date and no hostellite was allowed to stay there.
Guess, there are certain things that cannot be explained. We were told that if we happen to be on the specific floor during the night, we will feel some 'weird' kinda vibration and a chill down the spine. There were days when we would watch cricket and football matches in the TV room past midnight. According to hostel rules, students have to climb the stairs to their rooms since lift is not allowed to operate past midnight. There were few occasions when we walked past the 'haunted' floor and felt some fear owing to negative vibration. This led me to believe that the spirit is present on the floor, albeit the hostel and that there are more to the rumors.
It is also a fact that the hostel gate close down at midnight and there has been times when we would be late after a movie show or partying where we had no other choice but climb jump the gate and knock on the door. We had to bang on the door several times and coax the 'mama', security guy whom we woke up, to let us in. Most of the times, the 'mama' would relent to our demands but not without giving him some notes so that he can buy 'chai.' Or, during revision time, we wanted to go out for tea at Churchgate Station after midnight since it's at this specific time that amazing tea is made. We would take the warden son with us as a shield to get out and P would sweetly ask the security, 'Kakka' or 'Mamma', depending on his age to open the door for us. If our friend, the warden son, who resides in the hostel, is not with us, it's the time to give some notes to the 'mamma' so that he let us out. After all, we were night owls.
It was the same hostel where I received the bad news that my dad was battling his life as he has sunked in the coma. At that time, I had no handset on me but the, 'Mamma' would pass the calls as there are two landlines on all the hostel floors. The security guards were nice guys and since I was quite friendly with me and they would always pass me the urgent phone calls. Do you know how they were calling us? My room number in first year was 601 and he would tell me over phone, "Oye! 601! phone from your parents."
 I vividly remember that I received the call on Saturday morning and the next day, Sunday, I had to pack my stuffs to visit home. What an ordeal it was coz I had to stay near the phone for two consecutive days so that mom and relatives would give me updates on air tickets and dad's progress. When I reached home, I was able to meet Dad but he passed away after one week.
I was back in Mumbai after spending three months with mom and reached in August and finally, convinced the warden to change my room to the one, sea face. I got a nice sea view room on ninth floor which made me run with excitement and happiness.
Gosh! What started as just one single post on life in hostel under Mumbai Musing has already run into three parts as I relived my memories in Mumbai. Three parts is not enough to describe two wonderful years of my life in Mumbai. Watch out for the final part.

To be continued..Mumbai Musing 4 and final part on Life in a hostel to come soon.
Love
Vishal

2013-10-23

Mumbai Musing 2: Life in a hostel

Commuting from hostel at Churchgate to Santacruz station and from there, taking the Best Bus to University of Mumbai, Kalina campus was quite a task that took me two good hours in travelling, to and fro. Going to the university in the morning means waking up early and waiting for one's turn to get into the shower since students made a beeline to get inside. Well, it means, if you wanna take your chance, you gotta stand in front of the bathroom door with towel in hand and try to sneak inside.
It's been a regular and daily affair, waking up early in the morning and brushing the teeth, toileting..of course, waiting in the line for the morning shower. Frankly speaking, I was getting tired of the routine, and, of course, the lights going off at 11 p.m since roomies' habit of sleeping early and I was a night owl who is literally awake throughout the night. The evenings were spent at Marine Drive but, even after I reached the room post midnight, I couldn't sleep. My only solace was the handset and plugging the ear phone, so that I listen to songs, surfing to Radio Mirchi and Radio City,while  lying on the bed, till I doze off.

In the mean time, I again spoke to the university authorities since they promised that they will shift me to another hostel as per my demand in Churchgate only. I was coveting the second hostel on C-Road Churchgate since it is nothing less than luxury with amenities such as TV, single room and water cooler. The plus point with International Students Hostel is that there are two bath room on both sides on one floor and one would be spared the trouble of waiting in line like movie-goers hunting for movie tickets.
In the mean time, I wrote a letter to Professor Ritu who is in charge of hostel admissions and the nice lady that she is, promised to help me. Around November, my expensive handset worth 10k was stolen in my room while I was taking a nap during the day. I vividly remember the fateful Saturday when I hardly slept and woke up early for lectures. Around noon, I was planning to catch a train from Santacruz to Bandra to spend some time at Barista Bandstand, one of ma favorite hang out. But, I decided not to alight since I was feeling drowsy. I went back to the room to sleep. I was reading a copy of India Today and slink my handset under the pillow. When I woke up after some time, my specs and the India Today magazine were lying on the side of the bed but the handset was gone. I led a frantic search in the room but no success in getting back my prized possesion. My only fault is that I didn't lock the door, thinking, that if roomies' comes, I have to wake up and open the door.
Few days later, I went to meet Professor Ritu but she was so pissed at me since I didn't attend my lectures for several months. She shouted at me in front of everybody saying, "I want an answer Vishal and please reply to me. I am very disappointed with you." Finally, she gave me the letter, not without chiding me, make sure you attend lectures since you are a brilliant student. Yay! I got my new room on sixth floor, room no. 601. When I entered the room, I saw that the wall papers were wearing and tearing off but I was happy that I got the new room that faced the girls hostel, Telang. What more can a young man wish for?! Hieeeee....Moreover, I got a view of Marine Drive and the sea breeze that flew into the room. Outside, my room there was a 24 hours cold water cooler and, of course, hot water in the geyser for bath, phone service and what's not. Life is beautiful.
The next time I met professor Ritu at the campus,  she was all smiling and was chatting with a student and batch mate, Atul. Professor called me and inquired whether I got the room. I thanked her and said that I was happy with the new single room at the new hostel. She told Atul, Vishal has been troubling us to change his hostel and she smiled to me, ' ab,Theek se padhai kar." Professor Ritu was a very charming lady but she can be a tough task master, not mincing her words to scold you since she cares for her students. Thanks ma'am.

To be continued...

2013-10-21

Mumbai Musing-1: Life in a hostel

July/August 2006:
Hostel life forges the characters of young men and women, don't they say?! I was already running late for my admission for my Masters in Economics after sealing a first class degree in Economics from Fergusson College in Pune. Somehow, our bachelor degree result got delayed and stuck which compelled me to make on and off trips to the city of dreams in an effort to sweet talk admission authority at Kalina Campus in Mumbai. Finally, things got settled and was awarded admission on merit list at Kalina Campus.
Since admission for hostel seats already started in the city of dreams, the director of Economics department got me a place to stay on Kalina Campus for a week or two, before shifting me in the hostel at South Bombay (SoBo). It was my dream to stay at SoBo in one of the hostels that face Marine Drive, one of my favorite place in the heart of the city. Hostels are really a cheap option for students like us who cannot afford the over-expensive flats in Sobo whose rental power goes over and above 30 to 40 k a month.
The initial days were spent running from one place to another, shuttling in the locals from Kalina Campus to Churchgate in order to convince the wardens to get me admission in SoBo hostels. Then, back to university in an attempt to convince authorities since I was told that seats are jam-packed and there is no vacancy. My luggage were left at a friend's place in Pune and been surviving in Mumbai for a month with a bag, few tee, shirts, jeans, banyan and under wears. Finally, the director gave me a letter to give to the warden at J S Hostel on B-Road, Churchgate and earlier, he promised, 'I can do something for hostel in the city.'
Admission was granted one fine day when I reached the building of J S Hall hostel, opposite Jai Hind College on B-Road, Churchgate and few minutes walk away from the amazingly awesome Marine Drive.  I must confess that the hostel building was not impressive at all but I found solace in my new home because of the fact that it was opposite Jai Hind college? You got it right?! Of course, girls in one of the coolest college Jai Hind and our Marine Drive. When nothing works for guys, girls in one of the most hip college make the heart beat faster...dhak dhak karne laga..
After paying 8,000 bucks for the six-months semester which is actually cheap, I was directed to the room and must say, I was quite taken aback that I gotta share the room with three other guys, which means that four of us will be in the room. Four people in a room means different personalities and of course, clashes which came quite early coz of the lights since the guys would turn the lights off at 11 p.m. Me, being me, I found it quite boring but, somehow, had to adjust in some way or another. There were two Kashmiri guys and another one, Lalit, whom I didn't like in the start but found him to be quite nice as we got to know each other. Our first days were spent hanging around at Colaba since he wanted to buy something for a girl he liked and who was cross with him for saying something stupid. One Saturday, we went to the shops at Colaba Causeway and I suggested that he surprises her with a, a wooden heart shaped key chain with her name inscribed on it and a card saying, 'I am Sorry.' Lalit liked my idea and they were back to good friends. The next day, was Ganesh Chaturthi and we walked all the way from Churchgate to Chowpathy Beach amidst the whole crowd where Ganesha was immersed. It was my first Ganesh Visarjan in the city and I bonded well with Lalit. It was awesome watching hordes of people, shouting Ganpati Bappa Morya. We ended the day with Pav Bhaji. The Ganesh Visarjan remains one of my fondest memories in Mumbai.

The nights were spent alone, strolling at Marine Drive and listening to Radio Mirchi, plugging the earphone to my newly acquired and prized Nokia handset. Life was a dream that became true in the city that never sleeps. I was sitting on the parapet, smoking a cigarette or two, gulping the cuttting chai down the throat and watching the sober crowd of SoBo. I dreamed to be part of the local crowd and I was on my way to be a localite. I would stay at Marine Drive till midnight, the time our hostel gate closes down and would listen to one of my favorite RJ on Radio Mirchi, Kalindi on the programme, 'Purani Jeans' where songs of 70s and 80s were played. It became a daily routine to spend the whole night at Marine Drive after dinner time and taking a long walk, dreaming of making it big in the most amazing city, Mumbai.
Welcome to Mumbai! ahem! ahem! The city welcomed me with malaria where I was confined to the bed and couldn't move for a week or two. What started as a mild fever turned into weakness and cold but thanks, to my doctor in Colaba Dr Pophale, I slowly started to pick up my threads which took a month or so. As friends told me, 'Welcome to Mumbai. Now, after malaria, you gotta make it big in the city.

To be continued..

2013-10-20

100 Words on Saturday-7: I Knew It Was My Last Day There


I am participating in 100 Words on Saturday-7, a prompt provided by Sugandha of Shades of Life (http://somethings-sugandha.blogspot.in) on writetribe.com. I am penning a short story on the prompt, 'I knew It was My Last Day There and hope you like it.
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I Knew It Was My Last Day ThereHordes of relatives and friends thronged to catch a final glimpse as I sat among them in the hall. The mood was sober and some shed a tear or two. I smiled as I remember the day I was born and as I grow up, my parents held my tiny hands to make me walk. I felt a tinge of sadness when I saw the friends I made in college, my first crush and kiss. They carried me on their shoulders in my last journey. I smiled and bade the last farewell to them. I knew it was my last day there.

2013-10-17

Complexity of my life

There are days in life where you feel everything fall out of place when you suddenly lose track of things in life and you feel sad for no reason, whatsoever. I am going through this stage right now and feel that it got to do with the inactive mind and inert body that spend the day and night sitting on the couch.
What's interesting is that at times, I feel so low and out of place but suddenly, the mood sprang up with positive thoughts in life. There are the good wishes, blessings and words of courage from friends that make the mood upbeat. My friends really know how to surprise me with the faraway phone calls, soothing words and, of course, unexpected gift in the form of tagging an old picture on Facebook. It warms the heart and brings a harbinger of hope in life. I have reason to believe that good things in life is waiting patiently behind the door. With so many good wishes, there is no reason to sound negative and deep inside, I know that positive things will usher its way in my life.
Still, why the lull and the emotional and mental conflict is dominating the mind? I know, the mind is fickle but to that extent? Gawd!!!! I think that I am going crazy with the weird turn of events in life, what with the proper job taking its own time to take shape. I've been sitting at home for the past six months and tired of waiting for things to turn up the way I want. The whole scene is so confusing and I know, it is the result of my own doing and, of course, unforeseen circumstances. But, why, why? I am in a hurry to script the story of my life and it's not really moving at my own speed. Life can be strange, at time. 
It's been months that I haven't written anything in my diary and my procrastination is hitting my nerves. How do someone arrange things to be properly executed? I am being patient and look furtively as a passive spectator at the way things are moving. And, to think, life moved at 360 degrees a year back with oodles of happiness. Still, I am not losing heart since I know that if good things doesn't stay forever, why should bad things gain a permanent place in my life.
I feel blessed and learning to count my blessing and not sorrow.
Good Night
Vishal

2013-10-12

100 Words on Saturday: Every Once In a While


I participated in the Write Tribe 100 Words Challenge on Saturday, 'Every Once in a While' provided by  Richa Singh of The Philosopher’s Stone from my other blog, www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com. Since, I already submitted the entry on wordtribe.com, I putting my post on the blog and not participating from my blogspot. But, the reason I choose to participate here is that I want to know the response of bloggers. Enjoy.




Every Once in a While

Every Once in a While, tears drop on my cheek as I remember the wonderful memories and the times spent together. In the flash of moments, images on TV remind me that you exist and you are my muse. As I gulp the cup of coffee, I think of times spent together and sinful moments we enjoyed in the monsoon as we danced together. We celebrated life where things were almost perfect. There was never a dull moment in our relationship. Every Once In a While, I long for us to be reunited and be together. I love you, Mumbai.